PILGRIMAGE TO OUR LADY OF LIESSE

1. Three knights, Lords of Eppes, set forth for the crusade to defend the tomb of Christ (towards 1134).

2. The knights are caught in an ambush and taken to Cairo, in Egypt, as prisoners.

3. The Sultan tries to persuade the knights to become Muslims. They resist pressure from the Sultan and the scribes. The sultan sends them his daughter, Princess Ismerie.

 

4. The three Knights proclaim to her the Good News: "Jesus, the Son of Mary, is the Son of God." Princess Ismerie asks for an image of Jesus and Mary, but the knights do not know how to sculpt images. They pray, and that night the Angel of the Lord brings them a little statue. When Ismerie returns to them, she becomes more and more interested in their faith in Jesus Christ.

5. Princess Ismerie, amazed at the statue, takes it to her apartments. During the night, Mary appears to her, asking her to free the knights from prison and to become a Christian.

6. Princess Ismerie frees the prisoners and, trusting in the protection of God and Mary, she goes with them. She carries with her the statue of Our Lady. Having crossed the Nile and exhausted by this long march, they fall asleep. When they awake, they find themselves near a village called Liance. Our Lady of Liance will soon become Our Lady of Liesse.

7. Princess Ismerie is baptised by Blessed Barthelemi de Vir, Bishop of Laon.

8. For 850 years, the Kings and Queens of France as well as pilgrims from every nation (50 000 to 100 000 each year) have come here to venerate Mary, the Mother of Jesus, she who is the Cause of our Joy, Laetitia, or Our Lady of Liesse.